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Alpines of the World

The Alpines of the World Collection at Denver Botanic Gardens houses alpines from around the world.   Alpines are plants found above tree line in mountainous and high latitude environments around the world.

The collection has an emphasis on Rocky Mountain alpines, and addition continental mountain ranges found in central Asia, the Balkans, Turkey and the Inner Alps.  Plants from these areas are perfectly suited to Denver’s semi-arid climate which has hot summers and cold winters with low relative humidity.  Despite hot summer days nights always cool back down even during the height of summer.   These conditions allow us to grow a wide variety of alpine plants.   Our semi-arid climate means that winter and summer rot rarely occur.

Denver Botanic Gardens is unique in that its alpine collection is spread across all three of its locations.  Most of the collection resides at York Street the main site. The largest portion of the alpine collection resides in the Rock Alpine garden which house almost 3500 species of plants native to rocky environments.   More than 300 of  these are true alpines   Mt Goliath our satellite site on the Mount Evans Massif 50 miles west of Denver houses a unique site specific collection of native Colorado alpines.  This unique site at 11,500 feet (3500m) is the highest constructed rock garden in North America and represents a unique partnership between the US Forest Service and Denver Botanic Gardens going back to 1954.

The collection showcases living examples of plants that one would have to travel across the globe to see and helps highlight the beauty and importance of these small plants.   The collection is interpreted on the topics: of conservation, climate change and its effect on alpine environments, the importance of microclimates and how to grow alpines in home gardens.

The collection received status in 2012 and continues to grow in size with an emphasis on material with known wild provenance.

Collection size

  • 416 species
  • 444 taxa
  • 1679 accessions across the three sites
  • 643 accessions of  known wild collected provenance
Collection Holdings